Every week in 2018, the plan is that my friend Rod is going to ask me some geeky question that will answer in a post. This week is Week #41, and this time around the question is the same as it was last time, because I didn’t finish it last time:
How would I save the DC Extended Universe (again)?
To review, we’re talking about the five existing films and the many forthcoming ones (how many remains to be seen) that are based on DC Comics characters and exist in one overall shared continuity. Those five films are Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman–Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League, and though none of them have been financial disasters, they for the most part haven’t raked in the zillions like Warner Bros. might like, based on what they can see happening over the road with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Last time, I highlighted how important it was to get right Superman and Batman, arguably the two most prominent characters in all of superhero comics (certainly two of the most prominent), if you wanted to make any universe featuring them successful, and I shared what I felt were the key elements for that to happen. Read all about here.
This post is going to be my game-plan what movies DC should make in the years going forward in order to build a compelling narrative that also has a shot at finding a good-sized audience. It has turned into an insanely long post–with some films only being mentioned briefly, while others are explained in some detail. Proceed at your own risk.
My ground rules are that I can’t change anything about the five existing DCEU films, and I’m also going to include the films that are already in production, and which even have trailers and the like for them. So that means we still get Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 1984. Birds of Prey is nearly in production, apparently, so I guess we can just let that movie go on through as well. I don’t really care, I guess, as I plan to basically ignore it. And then everything that is planned after that…Flashpoint, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corp, Suicide Squad 2, Batgirl, Justice League Dark, all the various Joker / Harley Quinn projects…are off the table. But don’t worry, I’ll be bringing someone of them back in in a moment.
By the way, a basic pre-supposition about all of the films I’m going to mention, which I wrote about last time, is that they’re all really good. Or at least they’re all solid. They’ve got well-developed characters with good dialogue engaging against meaningful threats in plots that make sense and storytelling that is internally consistent. Sort of like most of Wonder Woman, and not like Suicide Squad, for example.
So…starting in the year is 2020, and though it’s a bit ambitious to expect any of this to happen that soon, let’s just say the DCEU begins a new era. We produce 2-3 films a year, which means over 10 years (the approximate age of the MCU at the moment), so that means in the ensuing decade we can make 25 movies. All titles here are just working titles. Here they the movies:
Or, Man of Steel 2, basically. Superman, hopefully played by Henry Cavill, has to confront his second most famous adversary, Brainiac. This movie will be our consolidation of Superman as a character, reframing him for our ongoing DCEU. He’s confident, courageous, and determined to do good. He laments his inability to help everyone, but he doesn’t let that stop him from trying. Clark Kent of course can’t suddenly turn into a bumbling goof, but there should be at least one scene of him pretending to trip while really pushing some loud-mouthed jerk out of the way of a falling piece of construction debris, and thus saving his life, while tidying up his fallen newspaper at super-speed in the process. You know, like this:
And another bit where he inspires a criminal into turning himself in just by showing up and looking at him.
But then, he’s got to be pushed to his limit when he confronts the extra-terrestrial menace Brainiac, an ancient alien who collects cities from around the galaxy and preserves them in bottles. When Brainiacs robot soldiers strike at the earth, we can get cameos from other DCEU heroes (it’s only natural to assume they’d be involved) but we can also limit this by having Metropolis itself be shrunk and bottled…with Superman inside. The story could then remained appropriately focused on the Man of Steel himself. If we want, the exception could be Cyborg, whose powers might be particularly useful for a story like this.
And of course, another complication could be the discovery that there’s a city from Krypton–Kandor–in his collection, if we want to go there. If so, we’ll need to find some way that the story doesn’t end with a setup for an adaptation of the New Krypton megaarc. Kandor can exist but that existence can’t be an immediate trigger for a new story. Maybe it’s lost in another dimension or something.
I think it’s key that we get a Superman movie out there as quickly as possible. In fact, one of the difficulties that I had with Justice League was the fact that there was no Superman movie on the horizon when it was out. They had this new take on Superman being introduced there, but no sense that DC was confident in the direction they were going. It felt more like (and it still does) that they’re just throwing things semi-randomly against the wall to see what sticks. What we needed is another movie that took the general idea that they were going with in Justice League (attempting to lighten up the character, make him more hopeful and inspirational) and then push it forward. And really, we should have to be waiting for three years to see it. Not with Batman either.
In the end of this film, of course, Superman will be victorious, but the twist is that the defeated Brainiac laments his loss because he is trying to preserve the universe, not destroy it. Something far worse is coming…and now that Brainiac has been defeated there’s no hope for any of the galaxy to be saved…
Directed by Matt Reeves, who is working on it in real life, and starring Ben Affleck or someone else, I’m okay either way. The Batman is the story of a younger Bruce Wayne becoming the hidden vigilante Batman before Superman showed up, and before the Kryptonians attacked in Man of Steel. However, it’s not an origin story exactly, but rather an early days story of the character finding his purpose.
Like the Superman movie above, this is our opportunity to, as best we can, reset our presentation of Batman as a character. Here, he’s the driven, even obsessed, in his war against crime, but he’s also canny and calculating. I don’t know who the villain is, but it’s not the Joker–I just feel like I need to gargle some mouthwash every time I think of the Suicide Squad Joker and I’ve no desire to go there again any time soon. I’m thinking maybe we go with Deathstroke as the main villain, with Hugo Strange operating in the background, and maybe Clayface as extra muscle if we need some more spectacle.
There shouldn’t be any significant DCEU cameos in this one, certainly not any major appearances by any heroes. But we do get an appearance by a young Dick Grayson, setting up his role as Robin.
Birds of Prey
This movie is already on its way, so we’ll include it so people can get their fix of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and also features the Huntress and Black Canary.
Current real-life plans call for a “Flashpoint” movie, based on the comic arc which involved Barry Allen finding himself in an alternate universe that has come about because he unconsciously went back in time and saved his own mother from being murdered. I think we’re way to early for a major alternate universe story, although at some point in the DCEU we’ll have to deal with the fact that Barry’s dad is in jail.
This time around I’d do cool story involving the Flash fighting his Rogues. The film would primarily involve Captain Cold and the Mirror Master, and develop Barry’s relationship with his girlfriend Iris West. Involving the Mirror Master allows for some fun psychedelic stuff to take place in some mirror-dimension as well (which is not the same as the “Flashpoint” changing history thing.
Justice League 2: Injustice Amongst Us
Now it’s time for the Justice League sequel, which right now in real life is nowhere on the giant list of movies that Warners is developing for the DCEU. The story will take some cues from the comic book arc, Rock of Ages, which involved both a corporate takeover-style attack led by Lex Luthor and his “Injustice Gang”, as well as a dark alternate future in which the world is taken over by Darkseid. These things are meant to follow up on hints from earlier DCEU films, namely the tag scene in Justice League where Lex Luthor and Deathstroke talk about forming their own league, and the post-apocalyptic vision Batman has in Batman v. Superman. However, the focus will be on the present-day action, with the dark future stuff just making a “cameo.”
So, in this movie we get Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg again) organizing a cabal of villains including Deathstroke (from The Batman above, and played again by Joe Manganiello), Mirror Master (from The Flash), hopefully Black Manta (depending on the outcome of the upcoming Aquaman), and maybe Cheetah (depending on what happens to her in Wonder Woman 1984). Plus anyone else we think should show up.
Luthor has acquired a cosmic artifact–the Worlogog–which gives tremendous power, and is planning on using it to completely destroy the League. He use the Worlogog to create temporary “energy duplicates” of the League which undermines their reputation, and the various villains strike at the heroes in a way to disrupt their confidence and unity.
However, Batman, as Bruce Wayne, knows corporate strategy and organizes a counter-attack. The rest of the League from the first movie are all involved, and a young ally is introduced, the brilliant scientist Ray Palmer.
In the course of things, Batman comes into close contact with this object and is temporarily transported to / given a vision of the future (it’s hard to tell which, exactly). In this dark future, the earth is overwhelmed by the celestial overlord Darkseid, and the tattered remains of the Justice League are pushing toward a final assault to destroy the base of his power. Batman finds himself in the midst of the battle, fighting alongside an older Aquaman, as well as Ray Palmer who is now the Atom, and a hero he doesn’t recognize–Green Lantern (John Stewart). When he asks where Superman is, the Aquaman tells him that he was lost, right at the beginning.
Batman is “returned” to the present, and the League continues their battle. At one critical point, Lex Luthor attempts to use the Worlogog to subjugate Superman‘s mind, but through a lot of awesome stuff (which definitely doesn’t include a cameo by Kevin Costner a hallucination of Jonathan Kent), he is able to resist, and the Worlogog is returned to the depths of the cosmos.
There is the possibility that the defeat of Luthor and the loss of the Worlogog will alter the future that Batman saw, but no certainty of this. Indeed, Batman worries quietly with the Flash about what would happen if Superman ever could be turned, as they feared happening here. And aside from all of this, there is still the fact that apparently, Darkseid is still out there, and potentially coming….
Green Lantern Corp
Following the introduction of Green Lantern in the future in the last JLA movie, we now focus on the hero in the present. Current DC plans for Green Lantern are apparently to have something of a “buddy cop” movie, with an older Hal Jordan training a younger John Stewart. That’s as good a take as any other, so let’s go with that.
The story takes place mostly off earth, and probably involves fighting an already evil Sinestro. I don’t have any other plot details, but there’s an appearance by Metron as a detached cosmic observer who is monitoring the abilities of reality’s champions, knowing the incredible testing they will soon endure…
In the end, John Stewart returns to earth to take his post as Green Lantern, while Hal Jordan remains out in space.
Shazam! Part 2: The Monster Society of Evil
A standalone sequel to the upcoming film, before Asher Angel as Billy Batson or Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman can get too old. The story takes its cues from the most famous Captain Marvel story ever, The Monster Society of Evil, and features the live-action debut of the megalomaniacal villain Mr. Mind, who happens to be a small, hyper-intelligent worm.
The Batman: Darkness Falls
The direct sequel to The Batman, which takes place several years later, and which tells the story behind the grafittied Robin costume seen in Batman v. Superman. Dick Grayson, now a young adult, retires as Robin. (Yes, we’ve skipped over the entirety of Dick Grayson’s Robin career–maybe we could make a short 10 minute film as a DVD extra which shows some of this). Batman takes on street orphan Jason Todd as a new Robin. But over the course of the story, Batman battles the Joker. Jason Todd proves himself to be too independent and headstrong to listen, he eventually falls afoul of the Joker and is killed.
This is last film we want to make that focuses on Batman before he’s seen in Batman v Superman. The idea is to push the character deep into his own psychosis, and make as much sense of his actions and decisions in Batman v Superman as possible (including killing criminals and attempting to kill Superman).
The film would also have the job of setting up future “street level” films about various Batman spin-off characters like Nightwing & Batgirl. Both are on the table in the real DCEU, but the idea of making those movies without first figuring out what’s going on with Batman just seems like nonsense.
Man of Steel 3
Three movies since Superman has had a major role, it’s time to put him front and center again. This movie would involve Superman dealing with some major earth-bound threats like Metallo and the Parasite. Superman and Lois Lane get married finally, and in the course of things, Martha Kent dies, giving weight to everything going on. This movie makes it clear that Superman is the premier hero of earth–the perceived leader of the Justice League and ultimately one of the most trusted figures on the planet.
Oh, also in this movie Superman gains his Fortress of Solitude, up in the Arctic.
Wonder Woman and Batman cameo, and we hint at the looming threat of Darkseid and Apokolips.
A spin-off from Batman, featuring Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Two-thirds through the movie, she is injured and paralyzed, but finds new capacity to fight crime as Oracle, and begins to train a protege, Cassandra Cain. Dick Grayson cameos.
This is another film that they are really talking about, with director Ava Duvernay attached. With this movie, which would have to focus on Orion, and feature him traveling to Apokolips and encountering a still-enslaved Scott Free, we’d finally have a good look at all the Fourth World concepts that have been hinted at, including Darkseid himself. In Orion’s travels, he’d discover his true identity (the son of Darkseid, traded away as a baby as part of a peace treaty), help inspire Scott Free to escape (as he was the other baby who was traded), and briefly meet Superman on earth. The majority of the story would take place between the warring worlds New Genesis and Apokolips, with Superman being the only earth-bound character to appear. The film would also feature Desaad (Darkseid’s chief scientist and torturer), Metron (introduced in Green Lantern Corp), and make some references to the fate of Steppenwolf (he survived being attacked by his own parademons before being executed as a failure by Darkseid). At the end of the film, Darkseid discovers evidence that says that the secret to his prize, the Anti-Life Equation, lies on earth.
This movie would inspire a new spin-off TV series, set in the DCEU continuity, called Mister Miracle, which would feature Scott Free as he escapes from Apokolips and makes a life on earth. This series would serve as a companion piece for the ongoing “Fourth World” saga happening in the background of the DCEU.
In a shocking twist, the movie features a really long post-credit scene (maybe 6-8 minutes long) in which Darkseid sends a small force, led by his chief soldier Kalibak, to earth, where they abruptly confront Superman, and after an epic battle, defeat him and take him away in a Boom Tube back to Apololips.
The Brave and the Bold
This is sort of a Justice League-lite movie, featuring a team-up story of the Flash, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Shazam and Ray Palmer, who is now operating as the Atom. It’s a stand-alone adventure, a bit more light-hearted than either the last Justice League or the New Gods were. This group of heroes falls afoul of the time-traveling experiments of the villainous Chronos, who turns out to be a puppet of the super-gorilla Grodd, who turns out to be partnered with Mr. Mind…something like that. No other cameos, but references to the fact that Superman is missing and the Justice League is in a bit of disarray.
This movie, which would simply have to cameo Batman, advances our “street level” DC story, last seen really in Batgirl. It features Dick Grayson, who returns to heroics as the super-hero Nightwing. He partners in this with Oracle (Barbara Gordon), who is really the co-star of the movie. Cyborg has a supporting bit and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) cameos. The story would be “small scale” compared to a lot of the DCEU, but still would feature Dick and Barbara discovering a conspiracy that links corrupt government scientific research with organized crime. No blue sky beams or world ending threats, though.
Wonder Woman 3
In the absence of Superman, Wonder Woman has stepped up as the symbol of justice in the eyes of the world in Superman’s absence. However, her efforts to figure out what has happened to Superman are hampered by the plot of the film, which involve a new threat tied into her Greek mythological origins. The movie features a brief cameo by Aquaman, and ends with a direct indication that the looming threat of Darkseid and Apokolips is now upon the earth…
Justice League: Rock of Ages
The third Justice League is where things really come to head with Apokolips. Superman abruptly returns to the earth, but he’s changed. The rest of the Justice League realize that he is enthralled by Darkseid, and they are all quickly brushed aside by Superman, who strangely flies to the moon. Batman realizes that his visions of the future are coming to pass. Green Lantern (John Stewart) enlists the aid of Hal Jordan to go on a mission to recover the Worlogog, the artifact from Justice League 2 which is seen as a way to free Superman. After Hal leaves, John takes the rest of the League (and basically all available heroes, like Shazam and the Atom) to the moon to confront Superman, where he is engaged in a strange construction project using technology from Apokolips. The League are again quickly defeated.
However, in the chaos, Flash, Wonder Woman and Cyborg are transported 15 years into the future where Darkseid’s rule over earth is supreme. Superman is the overlord of earth, and most of the Justice League are dead, with Aquaman, Atom, and Green Lantern (John Stewart) still remaining and leading a resistance of younger heroes, including a young Green Arrow. Most people on the earth are under the mental thrall of Darkseid.
Batman and the others are thought to have died long ago. Earth is ruled from a citadel somewhere on earth, where Darkseid’s chief scientist Desaad conducts cruel experiments, still attempting to discover the secret of the Anti-Life Equation. The rumor is that Darkseid himself is returning to earth, and so it is imperative that the Citadel can be taken before this.
Wonder Woman and Green Lantern confront Superman, basically as a distraction, and engage in an epic battle. Meanwhile, Aquaman leads the other Leaguers on a mission into the Citadel. There, they must fight there way through all sorts of evil armies, and if we want, we can indicate that they briefly encounter a time-lost Batman (from Justice League 2).
Once they get into the Citadel, they encounter Desaad…who turns out to actually be Batman! Batman defeated Desaad and took his place months ago and has been laying plans to defeat Darkseid. Indeed, Desaad had discovered the secret to Anti-Life (which means total subjugation of will, rather than actual death), and Batman has been preventing that secret from getting to Darkseid. The whole reason Darkseid is coming is because he senses something is wrong and is out to sort things out.
Batman declares that for the plan to work, they actually need to destroy the unit on the moon–the very thing Superman was building before. This machine is the Subjugation Engine, and functions as a broadcaster for a limited version of Anti-Life, which is why most of the earth is under Darkseid’s control and only certain people have been able to retain their individuality. It also functions as a lock, sealing off the solar system from any other worlds or dimensions (except via Boom Tube). Batman is able to open a Boom Tube that sends Flash and Cyborg to the moon, while the others stay behind to defend Batman from Darkseid, who is arriving. Before they go, Batman tells the Flash to remember…Lois Lane is the key.
Just then, Darkseid arrives on earth and enters the citadel. The League attempts to keep him away from Batman. Most of them are defeated pretty easily. Aquaman has an epic battle with him before he is obliterated by Darkseid’s Omega Beams.
Flash and Cyborg find the Subjugation Engine too strong to damage. But realizing that he is born from similar technology, Cyborg discovers that he can actually merge with the machine, and undermine its stability. He does so, sacrificing himself, and the Flash destroys the Engine. As it is destroyed, the people on the earth begin to “wake up” and come to their senses once again.
Superman defeats Wonder Woman and actually kills Green Lantern. He then senses the activity on the moon and quickly flies there.
Back in the Citadel, the destruction of the machine allows Batman, on earth, to “open the door” to the solar system, so that someone from another dimension may enter. This turns out to be Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), not looking any younger than before, and armed with the Worlogog. He and Superman confront each other on the moon, but Green Lantern drops the artifact. Flash picks up it up and basically hits Superman with it. Superman screams as the Flash uses it to attack his mind.
Darkseid destroys Batman with his Omega Beams. He finds the secret to the Anti-Life Equation, which will give him absolute mastery over every mind in the universe, without the need of things like the Subjugation Engine. But suddenly he is confronted by the last surviving Justice Leaguers: Green Arrow and the Atom. Darkseid’s personal force field easily deflects Green Arrow’s attacks, but the Atom is able to penetrate it–propelled by an arrow–by making himself as small as a photon (reasoning that since light passes through, he will be able to as well.) Once through the force field, Atom enters Darkseid’s brain and gives him an aneurysm. At the same time, Darkseid lets loose a massive barrage of energy, and all three are killed.
Darkseid’s armies converge toward the moon. Wonder Woman recovers enough to follow them. There, she finds Flash still attempting to set Superman free with the Worlogog. Flash is able to show Superman images of Lois Lane, taking him through is relationship with her. Superman finally comes to his senses, but is half dead. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern make a stand against Darkseid’s armies while Flash takes the wounded Superman and the Worlogog and begins to race at unprecedented speeds…through time.
Justice League: Final Crisis
Following on from the last Justice League movie, the Flash and a recovering (but emotionally broken) Superman race through time, pursued by some of Darkseid’s forces. Back in the future, we see that Wonder Woman and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) are able to deal with the rest of Darkseid’s army back on the future earth and then try their best to follow the Flash through time.
In flashbacks, we see the ordeal that Superman has suffered since he was kidnapped by the forces of Apokolips…how Darkseid was able to slowly strip away his will and overwhelm him with the “limited” Anti-Life that he used to subjugate earth. Superman is almost able to escape, but he ends up sacrificing his opportunity to help some who are oppressed on the planet, and to help Mister Miracle (Scott Free) and his wife Big Barda–a former elite soldier of Darkseid’s–evade capture (thus tying into some stuff going on on the ongoing Mister Miracle TV series)! Ultimately, Superman loses his mental freedom to Darkseid.
In their time travels, Flash, future-Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman arrive on Apokolips, shortly after mind-controlled Superman was sent from there to earth in the past. They find the fugitive Mister Miracle and Big Barda, and work together to survive. They realize that they need to send a message to Orion on New Genesis, to warn them that Darkseid is making his move upon earth. With guidance from Mister Miracle, Green Lantern attempts to send a signal through Apokolips’ defenses, but it fails.
Now, meanwhile on the Moon, Superman is building the Subjugation Engine. Green Lantern (John Stewart), Aquaman, Atom, Shazam and Batman, who were all defeated by Superman in the previous movie, recover from their injuries and retreat, looking for an opportunity to strike back.
At the same time, Flash attempts to break through time again, in order to warn Batman in the past about what is happening, but his efforts fail and he winds up repeating the scene from Batman v. Superman.
Sometime in all this, we get another flashback, this time showing Hal Jordan’s 15 year journey to find the Worlogog, and the many cosmic ordeals that he had to face–he didn’t physically age during this time because of the property’s of the other dimension. In the present, Hal suggests doing something similar to reach Orion. Eventually, after all sorts of trouble and epic battle, the League is able to reach Orion and stir up a rebellion on Apokolips. With the help of Orion, the Justice League are able to use a Boom Tube and return to the moon.
Back on the moon, Batman and the others have been sabotaging Evil-Superman’s efforts, but he has finally discovered this and caught them. There’s another big battle, but Superman is clearly more powerful than the others, and he is just about to activate the Engine (and thus bring the earth under Darkseid’s control) when there is a Boom, and Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, Flash, Mister Miracle and Big Barda all arrive, along with a set-free Superman of the future.
Absolute epic-ness ensues, culminating in Superman vs. Superman. Future Superman defeats his past self, and setting him free. As this is happening, Darkseid arrives on earth with a mighty army, following on from the chaos on Apokolips. The whole mighty League defends the earth, and are quickly joined by the armies of New Genesis and about a five hundred Green Lanterns. The presence of future-Superman and the way he’s changing the past contributes to some global upheaval and after some grandiose explanations from Metron (come to observe, as always), future-Superman crushes the Worlogog, releasing the energy necessary to wipe out his whole timeline, including himself, while still protecting the integrity of the present.
The present day Justice League (and their allies) defeat Darkseid–he is simply no match for the level of power present. He is sent back to Apokolips, shamed and defeated. Mister Miracle and Big Barda return to New Genesis with Orion and the others (the Mister Miracle TV show having run its course), and the Justice League build a new Watchtower on the moon to serve as a headquarters on the wreckage of the Subjugation Engine.
So, to summarize, all events in the present have occurred just as described, but the ongoing future where evil-Superman rules over the earth on behalf of Darkseid and kills all those people…never takes place. However, the consequences of those actions are not undone–the Worlogog is destroyed, people’s injuries are still there, Superman is a bit emotionally scarred (though he never did most of the evil things that his future self did), and Cyborg is dead.
The team mourns Cyborg. Hal returns to his post in space. The League reorganizes, with the membership now formally including John Stewart and the Atom.
Obviously, with this film, we conclude a major chapter in the DCEU, namely the imminent threat of Darkseid. But we’re not at our ten year mark yet. Indeed, we’ve only done 16 movies out of our 25. However, from here on in, the goal will mostly be to simply give the DCEU as much opportunity as it can find to create individual successful franchises, so there are lots of options for going forward. It would be easy enough to sprinkle developing hints of a new big threat, but it’s not necessary. And it’s not until the last film on this list that we bring the Justice League together again for another full-blown global adventure.
After all that epic nuttiness, it’s time to take things back a step in both scale and tone. The next DC film is about Plastic Man, the pliable detective who just might be out of his mind. It’s a lighter film, along the lines of (presumably) Shazam!, and doesn’t have to feature any other heroes in a cameo, but at the same time could if we felt like it. Either way, it would break new ground for movies as it would actually be the first-ever good live-action stretchy-superhero movie.
Green Lantern Corp 2
Hal and John come together again for another adventure, this time attempting to solve a space-based murder mystery. We are ultimately introduced to Mongul and his planet conquering Warworld.
Batman: Streets of Gotham
This would be sort of a “Batman Family” movie, starring Batman but featuring Nightwing, Oracle and Batgirl, in a very “street level” situation, reestablishing Batman’s roots after all the epic cosmic stuff in the Justice League films. I think an obvious villain to include would be Two-Face, or maybe the Riddler. But clearly not Two-Face and the Riddler, or else it might look too much like Batman Forever.
Again, we change things up a bit by setting a movie in World War II, and featuring the Blackhawks, a group of non-powered but highly skilled military pilots. However, in spite of the “grounded” concept, the movie ventures into science fiction territory when they stumble upon an island full of dinosaurs, and a supervillain who intends to use a strange energy source from that island to do harm. During the climax, that mysterious energy source is discovered and released across the earth, impacting a variety of otherwise random people in different parts of the world. This feeds directly into the next movie...
Those characters impacted by the energy from the previous movie all develop strange powers, and rise up as a group of heroes, who are recruited by the government to become the All-Star Squadron. This could include heroes like Firebrand, Mister Terrific, Sandman, Liberty Belle, Starman, Wildcat, and whoever we want, really, in order to create a rousing World War II-era superhero adventure.
A new hero, Booster Gold (accompanied by his flying robot drone assistant, Skeets) arrives, vying with Superman for attention in Metropolis. It is revealed over time that this showboating hero is from the future, where he was a professional football player who was disgraced when he was taught cheating. Stealing some futuristic technology (including a security drone who is reprogrammed to become Skeets), he traveled into the past to recreate himself as a hero.
However, all of his efforts to achieve success are only partially successful, and he fails to earn the respect of the Justice League. He is, however, recruited by self-appointed “Time Guardian” Rip Hunter to help stop an enemy who is attempting to change history. Over the course of the movie, he puts several things back on track–including ensuring that young Hal Jordan becomes Green Lantern, making sure that the Blackhawk program gets off the ground, and helping a young Dick Grayson survive his first outing as Robin.
After all of this, Booster discovers new purpose–to help protect time. But to do so, he realizes, he will have to remain anonymous, or the villains who threaten time will attempt to take him out as a child. As a result, when Wonder Woman approaches him to talk about helping him find his feet in the superhero community and even to be mentored by the Justice League, he scornfully turns her down, ensuring he receives no recognition as a hero, even at the cost of the respect from those whom he most desires it.
Suicide Squad 2
Hopefully, it’s now been long enough since the first Suicide Squad film for the stink of that travesty to have been washed away from our nostrils. This new film is built on the same concept but quietly forgets as many details as possible from the previous movie. Amanda Waller is obsessed and manipulative, but not the sort of person who would just shoot a bunch of her underlings simply because they don’t have clearance. Deadshot is not a sassy but sympathetic hitman, but a deeply broken compulsive personality. And Rick Flag struggles to keep his head together as he attempts to keep his team alive, and to work against Waller’s more dangerous instincts.
And the team are sent into dangerous missions that require covert operatives, against terrorists and foreign government sponsored villains and the like, and not just down the middle of a city street with a bunch of ordinary soldiers. Other characters to appear include Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, and Oracle (Barbara Gordon).
And Harley Quinn and the Joker are nowhere to be seen.
The Legion of Super-Heroes
Superman and Booster Gold end up teaming up to fight some menace in Metropolis who uses psychic powers. They win, but for the first time Superman notices that Booster Gold uses a “flight ring”–a futuristic piece of jewelry that allows him to fly. This triggers a set of memories in Superman and he returns to his parents home, where he finds a hidden room in the cellar where his spaceship was kept. In this hidden room is a series of trophies which celebrate the Legion of Super-Heroes.
We flashback and learn how when Clark Kent was a teenager, he was visited by three teenaged superheroes from the future: Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. Journeying with them into the future he became part of their organization, the Legion of Super-Heroes, as Superboy, wearing a modified version of the Kryptonian battle armor that he’d eventually be famous for. In the Legion, Superboy takes part in a mighty battle to prevent a war from the a neighbouring species, the Khunds, and save an earth ambassador from the super-villains of the mysterious Dark Circle, and to defeat the Tyrant Sun (a sentient star), Solaris.
At the end, he’s returned to his original time, and after hiding his trophies, his memory of the future is suppressed by Saturn Girl (a telepath) to avoid him learning of his own destiny. And Kevin Costner can cameo as Jonathan Kent if we want!
Back in present, Superman reflects upon the memories that have been restored to him, and a chapter of his life that is now once again part of his story.
Justice League: New World Order
Last, and hopefully not least.
A new group of heroes, the Hyperclan, arrive and become prominent thanks to more direct means of doling out justice. In short, the regularly kill their enemies, and thus come into conflict with the Justice League. One criminal that they are pursuing is a mysterious alien fugitive whom Wonder Woman ends up befriending: a Green Martian who calls himself J’onn J’onzz.
Batman and Superman eventually figure out that the Hyperclan are actually other aliens from J’onzz’s world, the so-called White Martians, who are intent on world domination. The League pulls together to defeat them and repel the invasion. J’onn helps, and ends up joining their number as the Martian Manhunter.
And….25 movies later, we’re done! At that point the DCEU carries along on its merry way, producing follow-up films about any or all of the characters or concepts that have been introduced. Indeed, the way here is easily paved for more movies about Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Blackhawks, the All-Star Squadron, Suicide Squad, the New Gods, Mister Miracle, Booster Gold, Plastic Man, the Birds of Prey, Nightwing, Batgirl, Oracle, Batgirl…there are so many possibilities.
Next week, we will do our third post on the subject of the DCEU, which will hopefully be a lot shorter!